NORTH MELBOURNE 1.5 3.12 7.17 11.21 (87)
GOLD COAST 1.3 4.3 7.5 12.8 (80)
Despite a herculean effort from Suns skipper Gary Ablett, the Kangaroos have held on to win by seven points at Metricon Stadium.
Ablett finished with 42 disposals, 18 contested, 10 clearances at 81% disposal efficiency and four goals yet it was still not enough for the young Suns as they now enter the break winless in 2012.
The game has a dour opening, with both sides struggling in front of goal. As a result only two goals were kicked for the entire quarter, and North Melbourne held a two point advantage.
The issue for the Kangaroos got worse, with the side kicking two goals seven in the second quarter, which allowed the Suns to stay in touch. By rights the game should have been over there and then, but as they say, ‘bad kicking is bad football’, and North were certainly guilty of throwing away their chances on goal.
It took some magnificent hard work and finishing poise from Brent Harvey to get the Kangaroos really going. The former captain finished with four goals and looked dangerous for every one of his 29 possessions. Drew Petrie started to look ominous as the contested marks started to stick, but still the Kangaroos could not finish off the Suns.
Their lead was only two goals at the final break, and when some more Ablett brilliance gave the Suns the first goal of the last term, the stage was set for an upset.
The last quarter was a display of tense and desperate defending, with both sides urgently protecting their goals as the Kangaroos and Suns spent periods relentlessly attacking, searching for an outlet that would ultimately win the contest.
With under three minutes left and only a three point lead, Petrie kicked his second goal. Despite a beautiful goal from Harley Bennell with two minutes left, it was enough for the Kangaroos to get the win, but not enough to ease the doubts over North Melbourne’s form in 2012.
North Melbourne: Harvey 4, Petrie 2, Thomas 2, Wells, Cunnington, Firrito
Gold Coast: Ablett 4, Bennell 2, Matera, Patrick, Hine, Caddy, Brennan, Day
North Melbourne: Harvey, Grima, Bastinac, Petrie, Goldstein, Swallow
Gold Coast: Ablett, Stanley, Smith, Horsley, Hunt, Matera
North Melbourne: Nil
Gold Coast: Brown (knee) replaced in selection side by Sexton, Tape (knee), Thompson (ankle)
North Melbourne: Kieran Harper replaced Aaron Black at three-quarter time
Gold Coast: Alex Sexton replaced Seb Tape (knee) in the third quarter
Umpires: Meredith, Wenn, Jennings
Official crowd: 10,170 at Metricon Stadium